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The Calling: Darkness Rising #2    by Kelley Armstrong order for
by Kelley Armstrong
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Calling follows The Gathering as the second in Kelley Armstrong's thrilling YA Darkness Rising series. It's set in the same richly imagined Otherworld as her Darkest Powers series and many adult supernatural novels.

The Gathering introduced Maya Delaney, who has a paw print birthmark and a knack for healing. She was adopted as a baby into a loving family and has a beloved German shepherd, Kenjii. Maya's best friend Serena died in a suspicious drowning accident, which Maya is still determined to understand. Her other close friend, Daniel, instantly senses any wrongness in people. They live in an isolated, top-secret medical-research community, established by the St. Cloud Corporation in Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island.

In the first episode, Maya learned that she is a skin-walker and developed feelings for hot new student/bad boy Rafe Martinez. He and his older sister Annie are also skin walkers, with the ability to Shift. Rafe is desperate to find help for Annie, who roams the woods and is mentally challenged. The Gathering ended after a killing and a deliberately set forest fire, after which Maya and her friends were hunted by figures with gasmasks and guns. That hunt continues in The Calling.

The episode opens on an emergency helicopter evacuation - aboard are Maya and Kenjii, an unconscious Rafe, Daniel, Nicole, Sam, Hayley and Corey. After the copter crash lands, the teens are pursued over land and sea by the bad guys (including Maya's birth father). There are captures and escapes. They learn that they have been part of a project 'resurrecting extinct supernatural types', and that all of the teens have special abilities. Daniel is a benandanti (demon hunter), but what are the others and why does Corey suffer such terrible headaches?

As always, Kelley Armstrong delivers a gripping read - I'm enjoying this trilogy even more than her Darkest Powers trio. Maya Shifts in this episode and learns what it is to be a cougar; she also starts to see her classmates differently. And this second adventure ends on a thrilling cliffhanger, just as the first did - those still free decide to seek out their Project Genesis peers. I can't wait for what comes next!

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